Dead Like Me: Life After Death liveblog

Layout 1I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a huge Dead Like Me fan. I was always really sad that the show only got two seasons, and also that it ended so abruptly. My sister Fish alerted me to the fact that they were making a movie, although she did extensively lament the fact that Mandy Patinkin (Rube) wasn’t involved. The movie came out yesterday (it was straight-to-DVD) and of course immediately showed up on Surf the Channel, which is why I love that freakin’ site. At first I was Twittering my thoughts, but then I was like, “You know what? I’m going to keep wanting to say things, and am I seriously going to have three pages of tweets about this?” So I decided about fifteen minutes in to do a live blog while I watched. This is the first one I’ve ever done, so I guess we’ll see how ridiculous it is. Ready, set, go!

If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about a young girl named Georgia “George” Lass (Ellen Muth) who died at eighteen after being hit by a toilet seat from the Mir Space Station upon its reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. She joined the ranks of the reapers, dead folk who take the souls of the living just before they shuffle off this mortal coil, and fellow lost souls Betty (Rebecca Gayheart, left halfway into season one), Daisy (Laura Harris, replaced Betty), Mason (Callum Blue), and Roxy (Jasmine Guy) become her makeshift family. They are given their reaping assignments by boss cum father figure Rube (Mandy Patinkin) and mostly hang out at a restaurant called Der Wafflehaus. The catch of being a reaper is that they can be seen by people and interacted with (they appear to the world differently than they did when they were alive, but they see each other the way they looked then); they need jobs and transportation and have no special powers aside from the reaping thing. In secret, George frequently checks in on her family, whom she mostly resented when she was alive; it consists of her mother Joy (Cynthia Stevenson), her father Clancy (Greg Kean), and her little sister Reggie (Brit McKillip). George also has a job at the Happy Time Temp Agency, working under a woman named Dolores Herbig (“as in ‘her big brown eyes'”). Okay, I think that’s all you need to know. Let’s roll.

15:05 Der Wafflehaus burned down, sad. 😦 Impressions so far: I miss Rube way more than I thought I would. They have recast the Daisy Adair character, who was played to perfection by Laura Harris but is now being played by this ridiculously terrible Sarah Wynter person who I only recognize, get this, from the pilot of Sex and the City (she’s the British woman whose boyfriend takes her to look at property about ten minutes after they start dating and then eventually stops calling, which, duh). Daisy is my favorite character, so as you can imagine I’m very upset about this. They seem to have dropped the Daisy/Mason ‘ship, which is good because it worked between Callum Blue and Laura Harris but with this Sarah Wynter it would be a nightmare. Britt McKillip (Reggie) has grown up to be very pretty and actually looks a lot like Ellen Muth (George), which is convenient. They’ve replaced Rube with some d-bag named Cameron Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) who died in 9/11 and is training them to get their reap information on Trios. Holy 2006 product placement, Batman! At the very least, use iPhones. It’s Seattle, not darkest Peru. Last but not least, they’ve recast the girl who plays “Millie”, George’s face-to-the-world; this new one is much prettier, but also less awesome.

15:28 Oooooh, a boy likes Reggie! He smiled at her. She’s a bad driver and also sort of a sour puss sad sack. She is George’s sister, after all!

16:15 Joy wrote a book about grief? It has George on the cover. CREEEEEEPY!

17:33 I forgot that everyone thinks George is a recovering alcoholic because that’s her cover for the reaper meetings. Dolores has Murray the cat strapped to her chest like an infant. Oh boy, that’s so Bri’s future.

22:24 Wow, the Happy Time offices got a major face lift. I don’t understand this mock interview scene.

25:20 George is a literal ambulence chaser now. Also, she missed her reap. Cue the world crumbling.

26:50 OH GOD DAISY LOOKS ATROSH. This woman’s performance is seriously under par.

29:47 Okay, the new boss is David Bowie in Labyrinth-level creepy. He keeps calling George “Princess” and actually just KISSED her. On the lips. IN SLOW MOTION. Who directed this thing?

34:30 The boy who smiled at Reggie earlier is George’s failed reap. Name is Hudson Hart. Not only that, but she can’t take his soul now; he’s on life support. Reg just stopped by to see him and some bitchy girl who looks like Shenae Grimes (you know her from Degrassi and 90210! ugh) tells her to leave. SNAP! Poor Reg.

35:43 OMG SCANDALZ! Looks like Reg was secretly dating Hudson, or so says the pictures of them canoodling that she tore up and threw in the trash outside of the hospital that George picked up.

37:01 Figures Megavideo stops working during Reggie’s sexy flashback. Actually, Megavideo, I have not watched 72 minutes of video today. I’ve watched THIRTY SEVEN minutes of video today. I guess I have to watch a season 2 episode on Netflix Watch Instantly while I’m waiting to get the privilege of watching more Megavideo.

37:47 And we’re back! Who knows for how long, though. Hudson says he loves Reggie, but he wants to keep their relationship a secret. Reg, from one woman to another: that is never a good sign. Also, apparently he has a public girlfriend, who Joy calls a “beautiful girl.” Nice, Joy. WAY TO PAY ATTENTION. I love Joy and I appreciate how she’s really trying with Reggie, but she really hasn’t learned anything from George’s death.

40:46 Roxy: “There are no consequences for anything we do.” Uhhhhh….

43:20 I can’t decide if this random comic book stylization that happens every once in a while is cool or just unnecessary. Cool, I think.

43:55 Roxy just saved a reap. This is not good.

47:08 Daisy just tripped an actress so that she could take over her part in a play. Also, the woman who plays this actress would’ve made a better replacement for Laura Harris than the other girl they’ve got here.

49:32 Daisy just lost it on stage. Like, LOST IT. It was totally dumb. Oh, she was drunk. Who wrote this thing?

50:46 What is going on with Mason? For the first time in forever, the reapers are the least interesting part of this show. Movie. Whatever. More Reggie!

52:27 No. More. Daisy. PLEASE! Although, her reap from the beginning of the movie has turned into a poltergeist. That’s interesting. Not at all relevant, though.

53:59 The reap Roxy saved died anyway. Duh. Haven’t you ever seen the Final Destination movies, Roxy?

56:06 Sweet sisterly heart-to-heart. Reg doesn’t know it’s George yet, but I’m guessing she eventually will. They’re talking about Hudson. Reg doesn’t want Hudson’s friends to think that he’d like someone like her, JIC he dies and it ruins their perfect illusion of him being a d-bag who only dates cheerleaders although, QUITE FRANKLY, it doesn’t seem, from the evidence shown in his interactions with Reggie, that he’s really any better than that. George left cab money (“for you to get to the hospital”) in the tip jar.

56:58 Uh, whoops, Reggie runs into George at the hospital as she tries for the frillionth time to reap Hudson to no great effect. She chases George down and, inexplicably, GETS INTO THE CAR WITH HER, because that is what you do when you feel like you’re being stalked, GET INTO THE CAR WITH YOUR STALKER. Real smart, Reg.

57:23 George told Reggie who she is! The way she proves it is by reciting a litany of horrible things that she did to Reggie when she was little. Nice, George. Reggie: “I think I’m gonna puke.” George: “Do it out the window, I just detailed the car.”

59:00 The Lass girls have another heart-to-heart, this time for real, even though the inevitable consequence of that is that Reggie thinks she’s losing her mind, that George is a figment of her imagination. Sad pancakes.

1:00:20 Uh oh, George just lost her job at Happy Time. Oh, and Reg wants to move in with her. That sounds like a good plan. Is George still living with Daisy in that house Mason gave them?

1:02:48 The chuckleheads have come to their senses about how lame a reap leader (terminology??) that Cameron guy is (although, to be honest, I don’t get his presence in this story whatsoever) and decided that they’re going above his head. What would Rube do? being the guiding mantra. This will not end well.

1:03:14 Unless Cameron is in some way an imposter, I don’t get this. Death/God/whoever would not appoint someone like him to take care of the reapers. It makes no sense. Oh, good, Roxy knocked him unconscious and they’re coming up with a plan.

1:06:01 Aw, George got Reg to go to the hospital and apparently Hudson asked for her. His parents are excited to meet her. Well, as excited as you can be about anything when your son is practically comatose, and also despite the fact that they A.) thought Reggie was a boy (her real name is Regina) and B.) he has a girlfriend already and they have no idea who Reggie is at all. Oh, NO NO NO. George just got a text message on her Trio saying that she needs to reap him now. Hudson’s dead. REALLY SAD PANCAKES.

1:09:16 Hudson’s soul wants Reggie to know that he’s sorry he kept her a secret. It took dying to figure that out, did it? Cute. You’re a jerk. Enjoy your football game-themed heaven. Meanwhile, Reggie is out of control speeding in George’s car. I like how George’s main argument against Reggie killing herself is that her soul hasn’t been reaped and therefore it will hurt a lot. THAT’s your strategy? “Have you ever hit a wall at 100 mph? Ouch!” George talks her down, and then tells her that she can’t see her anymore, and then OH WAIT MEGAVIDEO SAYS I NEED TO WAIT 54 MINUTES TO SEE THE LAST TWENTY MINUTES OF THIS MOVIE. I hate Megavideo.

While we wait, here’s a question: Why is it that the only convincing romance this show has ever had was the one between George and that schizophrenic guy, Ronnie, she reaped in the first season? I don’t have an answer to that, but feel free to let it keep you up at night.

1:12:01 Aww, George learned a lesson about how she should’ve been nicer to her family when she was alive. Except, wasn’t she learning that all through the first and second seasons? Shouldn’t she have figured that out by now? Oh well, at least she told Reggie she loved her before kicking her Lindsay Lohan-outfit wearing ass to the curb.

1:13:01 The other chuckleheads are trying to “kill” Cameron Kane because he’s “evil”, which, I would buy that if he had done ANYTHING AT ALL except force them to use Trios, which I agree is pretty mean, and not give sage advice like Rube. Also, you can’t kill him, you idiots; he’s already dead. That’s how he has the job he has! Morons.

1:13:23 Gunshot to the head: FAIL.

1:13:43 Drowning in fountain: FAIL.

1:13:57 Dear God, Mason’s breaking out the chainsaw. Remind me again why this guy has to be disposed of? He seems pretty bored with you clowns, I think he’d just…go away if you ignored him for 8.5 seconds.

1:14:36 George is with Dolores at the vet’s, and a little blond girl just reaped Murray, so he’s a goner. (In the mythology of the show, dead kids reap animal souls.) Too much time in this already short movie was spent on Murray’s fate. Too much time in the show in general was spent on it, actually.

1:15:06 Oh yeah. I forgot that J.D. (the dog George inherited from a reap that she gave to her mother and sister) died. Sad pancakes.

1:15:29 Aw, Joy finds Reggie at George’s grave. Remember the end of the second season, when George appears to them at her grave, looking like she did when she was alive because it was Halloween? WHOA, Reggie is whoopsing George’s continued existence to Joy. Joy naturally thinks Reg is loony tunes. They decide to go on vacay, a road trip, because when you think your child is having a nervous breakdown the obvious solution is highway hypnosis.

1:18:25 The chuckleheads are roasting marshmallows over what I assume is the fire they set to Cameron’s chopped up remains, which, ew. Also, WHY? George seems to accept this no problem.

1:20:53 Okay, Dolores’ extreme attachment to her cat is no longer funny. It’s just sad. In the pathetic way. I’m all for loving pets, but seriously?

1:21:11 It might be a little late to not go with the flow here, but A. how did they get permission to shoot Murray’s ashes up into SPACE? Is that a thing you can do now? B. Since when is there a rocket launch location in Seattle?

1:22:14 George stops by one more time as Joy and Reggie leave for their vacation. Imagine my excitement when George and Reggie catch eyes and “Boom Boom Ba” by Metisse (a song they used a lot during the first season) starts playing.

1:22:52 George gets hit with a shower of Post-Its. Oh God. Someone in upper management put her in charge of that merry band of fools. In her own words: “I am so fucked.” You’re not the only one, pal.

Okay, I’m glad I didn’t buy this. It was not the best thing in the universe. I liked the whole Reggie/George storyline, but the rest was gibberish. It really suffered the loss of Mandy Patinkin and Laura Harris and they bent the rules they created which I never countenance. Hope you enjoyed the liveblog! Verdict: You don’t have to see the movie; the show’s two seasons will do.

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Behold, the relationshipocalypse

Ugh, you guys. I saw He’s Just Not That Into You last night and as you might imagine I HAVE SOME THOUGHTSICLES.

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First of all, where they get off calling this clown show a “romantic comedy” I’ll never know, because it was neither romantic nor particularly funny. Actually, it was totes depressing. Which, you know, is fine generally; none of our lives are sunshine and roses all the time, and the manufactured, solipsistic bullshit suffering most romantic comedies put their characters through for no reason is not preferable, but man. I’ve never wanted to die in a theater more than during this movie.

I won’t say, though, that the movie is “unrealistic” in its portrayal of women disecting a man’s texts and verbal cues and body language for signs that he’s “into” her, because of course people (all people, men and women) do that all the time. I’m a completely reasonable woman and I found myself doing that over and over for about nine months in recent memory, and while I don’t need a movie to remind me of how stupid that is, remind me it did. So, ugh, stab me in the eye. Some moments of this movie were physically painful to watch, and even though I’m loathe to admit it, some of those moments that made me want to vom had the imprint of recognition on them. As in, I’ve done that before. I did that yesterday. Kill me.

So, spoilers ahead, for those who care.

But most of what made me sick in this movie was just the godawfulness of the characters. When the lights came up, I turned to my friend Cambria and said, “I just wanted to set them all on fire.”

In retrospect, though, it wasn’t all of the characters. I really like Ginnifer Goodwin, and while her character, uh, Gigi was it?? was horrifically self-involved and so obsessed with getting a guy to like her that she never, ever asked herself, “Do I like this person?”, I sympathized with her unlikeability predicament and secretly hoped that she’d wise up and calm down. And she did, kind of. So that was an achievement. Although, even when she figured out that Justin Long was “into” her (I’m sorry, I just can’t write that without quotation marks to indicate my complete dissociation from the term), she was more like, “Yes! He likes me!” instead of “Yes! He likes me and I like him!” And anyway he didn’t like her, and then she made that impassioned speech, “At least I put myself out there even though I might make myself ridiculous most of the time and who cares if you think I’m a moron because at least I try!” and while I don’t think that would have made Justin Long either fall in love with her or realize he’d fallen in love with her without his own knowledge (something else I don’t buy, the whole “I loved you but I didn’t know it” thing, a common conceit in romantic narratives that annoys me), I fell in love with her a little bit because, yes, own it girlfriend. You get points for trying. So yeah, when he came to her door and professed his “into”-ness I was happy that she held back, referencing the fact that he is a totally emotionless tool who treats women as if they’re disposable and that he hardcore rejected her not such a long time ago and that people don’t change. But then I was like, “He’s cute and he’s there so just kiss him already,” and that’s what happened so I was glad-ish.

Drew Barrymore was hardly in this mess, but I’m glad she got a happy ending anyway, because, while her story was asinine, she was just generally confused more than anything else and, whatever, MySpace is a black hole from which many people never emerge. I could give a damn about Kevin Connolly generally, and his character in this movie was not that great, but it was nice to see how sincerely he wanted to be with someone for real, it just wasn’t Ginnifer Goodwin. So him getting together with Drew Barrymore was fun at the end, especially because they had known each other the whole movie but had never really interacted.

And, FINE, the Jennifer Aniston/Ben Affleck story was all right. I hate reading reviews that say she “demands” that he marry her because, uh, she doesn’t, unless finally admitting what you’ve been too afraid to say that you want is a demand. That’s what you’re supposed to do, be honest about what you need in a relationship, right? But it was pretty obvious the whole time how much they loved each other, and both of their characters were sympathetic and easy to like. I would’ve preferred that he would’ve capitulated about the marriage thing when she came to the boat to capitulate about the non-marriage thing, because that would’ve been very Gift of the Magi, instead of later in their house, because “now that she doesn’t need to get married I’m sort of okay with it” is kind of passive aggressive. But whatever. No complaints, that was a totally tolerable storyline.

BUT OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. The Scarlett Johansson/Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Connolly storyline made me SO. ANGRY. I hate the idea of cheating, I hate it when people do it, I always think it’s completely, totally morally indecent to do it, and I absolutely hate Hollywood’s ongoing attempt to normalize and glorify it. Bradley Cooper’s character was literally the scum of the earth. If you don’t want to get married to someone you don’t get married to them. If you get married to them even though you didn’t particularly want to you find a way to make it work or you end it in as dignified, respectful a way as possible. You do not, I repeat, DO NOT cheat on them repeatedly while feeding them lies about wanting to make it work and ambushing them with the fact of your infidelity in a Home Depot! UGH. I really don’t like Scarlett Johansson at all, and I like Bradley Cooper in Alias but now…I don’t know. Poor Jennifer Connelly. She should’ve been all, “YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME” and been done with it.

So there. Sitting through He’s Just Not That Into You was, on the whole, a terrifying experience for a young single gal like me. I comfort myself with the knowledge (delusion?) that romance and happiness are not easily quantifiable, nor is there a formula for human interaction or a “rule.” There’s just common sense and mutual respect and if you lose on both counts, well, there’s your answer. Happy Valentine’s Day, you guys! (It is not Valentine’s Day yet, calm down.)

At least she’s got that dead-eyed stare down

My blog stats are taking a nose dive, and you know what that means! Time to start talking about Twilight again. What? It’s not like I didn’t warn you that that’s my strategy. Haters to the left.

344802103_1edeec9687When I first heard rumblings that they were going to cast Dakota Fanning in New Moon, I was all, “What is this noise? Who would she even play? It’s not like there are any preternaturally intelligent creepmaster flash children in this series.” At least not until Breaking Dawn. ZING! I’ll be here forever. Try the stuffed chicken breasts. (Okay, you’re right, that was not a zing.)

First of all, fun fact: after being ten-going-on-eighty-seven for the past, oh, century, apparently Dakota Fanning is almost fifteen now. Speaking of vampires, I always kind of thought of her as a real-life Claudia from Interview With the Vampire. Now that theory is ruined, although we’d really have to test her DNA to be sure.

Second of all, funner fact: people are saying that they’re going to cast her as Jane in New Moon. Personally, I think this casting choice, if indeed it is true, which, shouldn’t this all be settled right now? Don’t they have to start shooting this movie two weeks ago if it’s supposed to come out before the end of the year? Or are we in for yet another faithful but soulless adaptation, complete with clumsy editing and a terrible soundtrack, because nobody seems even remotely capable of planning ahead and the whole thing gets rushed? At least they’ve got more money this time around, so maybe the Volturi temple of doom set will be kick ass.

What was I saying? Oh, this casting choice is dead on. I barely remember Jane, but what I do remember was that she was small and creepy and had truly terrifying mind powers–I think maybe she was able to make people feel excruciating pain they weren’t really experiencing? That’s bananas. Which leads me to a question: Aro is, like, totally power hungry and yet he and his posse of ancient bloodsucking lunatics have absolutely no desire to maybe take over the world? Why don’t vampires rule the universe, if indeed they’re so impossible to outwit or defeat? Why are they afraid of being revealed to the world by mad hoards of newborn vamps or Edward stepping into a crowded Italian piazza and *~*SPARKLING*~*?

I think about this way too much. Time to get a life.

Highlights from my trip to California

When my family first moved to California eight and a half (oh God, really?) years ago, I volleyed between despondent and massively pissed off. I was a senior in high school and had lived practically my entire life in one house in Chicago’s north suburbs, fifteen minutes away from my aunt and cousins and half an hour away from my grandmother. I had lots of friends at my giant, award-winning, nationally respected high school, I was on a very hardcore swim team and a State-winning water polo team, and I was taking all these advanced classes. Then we moved to the Tri-Valley, clear halfway across the country, where I was enrolled in a tiny (by my standards) public school with no water polo team and only a handful of AP classes. I basically resigned myself to just pushing through that last year; I didn’t really feel confident about making friends or forgiving my parents for depositing me unceremoniously in that hell hole, so I figured I’d just get through it as best I could and then go back to Chicago for college.

As with many preconceived notions, mine were dashed when I met probably the most important people in my life besides my family. I ended up making some amazing friends that year, and these girls are not only still my best friends in the whole wide universe, they’re pretty much my sisters. Anyway, usually my family goes to Chicago for Christmas for about two weeks, but this year my mother, who has been doing a lot of international traveling for her job, pretty much said “Enough planes already!’ and instead of all of us convening in Chicago, I flew out to the Bay Area for Christmas. Lucky for me, my best friends (whose families also still live in the Tri-Valley) were there as well, and we spent ten days hanging out, during which a lot of really fun stuff happened. Here is a partial list:

  • Christmas Eve brunch: I went out for breakfast with my friend Kim, her sister Jennifer, Jennifer’s boyfriend (of like five or six years who for some reason I’d never met) Steve, my friend Cambria, and my brother JJ. IHOP (I know, we so classy) was really crowded, so we went to this ancient breakfast place that I’d never actually been to and ate our fill of greasy food. The best part of that morning was going to our old high school (where my sister’s still a student), which is being razed to the ground and rebuilt. It was like exploring the ruins of Rome, except not as pretty–seriously, there were walls torn down and we saw a mural that we’d never seen before in our collective nine years of attending school there because it was in the teacher’s lounge. The new building was sleek and cool and we were all super jealous because we had to attend class in dark, cramped buildings from the seventies.
  • Christmas Eve: My mom cooked a full Wigilia dinner (delish!) and we opened presents. It was fun and low-key and I wore a kick-ass Blair Waldorf flower headband but I seem to have misplaced my camera and so the only pictures are on my parents’ ancient digital, good luck to me getting a hold of them. That’s actually the theme of this whole vacation–ten days and I have no pictures to show for it.
  • Town Dive Bars: We spent many of our nights exploring the limited number of bars in the valley, because we usually just go to one and, fun as it is, we thought we might have a better time at the others. Pretty much they were all let-downs, because let’s be honest: this is a suburb, and we all live in real cities. Still, the Bud Light is dirt cheap and the company was amazing.
  • Jenny’s birthday/mustache party: Jenny had been talking about having a mustache party for her birthday ever since she came to New York in October, probably, or at least since Th4nkSgiving. Anywiz, as luck would have it I received stylish mustaches in the office White Elephant game, so we wore them to one of the aforementioned dive bars one night. Let me tell you, it was amazing. Cambria’s mustache made her look just like her father, which pretty much creeped us all out. There were a couple of guys with us, but they were all clean-shaven, which made it all the funnier. These pictures are so hilarious, you guys, and if I ever get them I will defs share them on the blog (knowing Jenny and her current lack of any sort of computorial apparatus, it may be a while…possibly June). The best part of the whole night, though, happened before the party, at my parents’ house while my brother and I were getting ready to go out. My mother saw the mustaches on the kitchen table and asked, “What are those for?” I told her about the plan–wear the mustaches to the bar–and she gave me a huge hug and said, “I’m so glad I’m not young anymore.”
  • Harry Potter Clue: At the risk of sounding like a huge nerd here, Harry Potter Clue is THE MOST AMAZING GAME ON THE PLANET. It’s SO MUCH BETTER than regular Clue, which I find sort of boring. The board MOVES, with secret passages appearing and disappearing and doors opening and closing. Also, there are spells and Dark Marks and the whole thing is a Harry Potter fan’s dream. I even won once! I almost never win at games, and since Cambria has been playing Clue ever since she was a small child, and Kim is a veteran board gamer, I was pretty proud of myself to have beaten them. Oddly, we didn’t play Apples to Apples or Phase 10 this time, which are our staple games. (Someday I’ll blog about how Phase 10 is the answer to life, the universe and everything. It really is.)
  • Eating: Time at home with friends is usually our excuse to pig out. There’s a lot of great restaurants in the Yay* that we just don’t have in New York and even San Diego, so we try to do a nice sampler any time we’re home together. I went to Pasta Pomodoro, Jack in the Box, Red Robin, In ‘N Out, Zachary’s, and Fuzio, and the only reason that list isn’t longer is that I had of lot of dinners at home with my family, on purpose, because I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.
  • Santa Clara: While I was home I went out to Mountain View to visit Carmen, my best friend from college. We had dinner at this lovely Mexican restaurant in the Pruneyard, El Burro, where the service was terrible but the food was delicious, and I saw an old acquaintance from college, Celeste, who was the editor of our literary review, the Santa Clara Review, when I was the fiction editor.** On our way back to Carmen’s house, where my car was parked, I asked her to drive us past Santa Clara, and I oohed and ahhed at the new fancy business school (Carmen was an accounting major, so she’s impressed by/slightly bitter about it) and the BRAND! NEW! BIG! LIBRARY! Because even though there was a whole article about it in the alumni magazine I inexplicably receive at work, there were no pictures, which is the dumbest thing ever. Anyway, our old library was a HOLE, totally inconsistent with the gorgeous mission-style architecture of the school, dark and ugly and pretty useless. They destroyed that monstrosity and put up this stucco-and-glass beauty. Direct quote from me: “Maybe if that had been the library when we were going to school, I would’ve used it more than once or twice a year.” On the way home I got slightly lost and ended up going past Santa Clara again (because I knew how to get home from there, curse the badly marked 101/237 junction), taking the long way to gaze at it one more time. Nostalgia has such a powerful influence on me; I sort of miss that place, and I can’t believe that my life now isn’t one long summer vacation and that I’ll never go back for another year there. Sad.
  • New Year’s Eve: Actually, this was sort of a weird night for me. Not bad, really, but I did end up going to sleep on the floor, freezing cold***, stone sober, at around five thirty in the morning, far after everybody else went to sleep, so…weird.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Kim and I went to see this film super late one night, and let me tell you, I thought it was great. Anyone who knows me knows I couldn’t care less about Brad Pitt, but I loved the movie. It was long, yes, but the pace was leisurely rather than plodding, which added to the supple Southern feel, the story was beautiful and heartbreaking, and the CGI was terrif (I don’t agree with some reviews that it veers into the territory of the Uncanny Valley, because these weren’t CGI people, they were live actors)–I mean, when Cate Blanchett was supposed to be eighteen, she looked eighteen. I really thought for the longest time that they’d found a young girl who looked exactly like Cate Blanchett before realizing they’d done fancy computer stuff to her face. I cried about eighty-five times. People are complaining about how the plot has very little to do with Fitzgerald’s short story, which, come ON! You really couldn’t film that short story; the premise is great, but it’s ripe for a tragic love story and you don’t get that from Fitzgerald.

I’m sure I’ve missed some things, but those are the highlights. I really wish I had pictures of that mustache party. I think y’all would really enjoy them. Sigh. Someday. Related: I should find my camera before my birthday party on Saturday night. That I’m sure I’ll want pictures of.

*You’ve got to check out the Urban Dictionary page for “Yay.” It’s fantastic.

**Actually, that day was what I’m calling the Day of Randoms. I went to the mall with my mom and sister and we ended up seeing the mother of one of my sister’s friends, a family that my sister used to carpool to school with, my friends Kim and Jenny, and a girl my sister goes to high school with. Then we went to another mall and we saw our dentist. Then I saw Celeste. It was so so weird. I didn’t run into a single other random person while I was there. Curious.

***Actually, I was cold the whole time I was home. I don’t think I was ever really warm once. I didn’t bring a coat because I’m an idiot and ended up having to wear my old high school letterman’s jacket just so I didn’t freeze to death outside. People, listen to me: Just because it’s California doesn’t mean it’s going to be warm in January. Take it from me. I should’ve known better, I’ve lived through those winters. I thought all I would need was a rain coat. I was dead wrong.

Progress

Good news. I am done with my first pass at the AUT manuscript. I have made all the small changes my editor marked, as well as reorganized Part Four (I think it works really well). While I was going through the MS, I flagged any notes that I needed to come back to, because they necessitated bigger changes or explaining to my editor why there didn’t need to be a change. There are a lot of flags in this manuscript right now, you guys. So close, yet so far away, in the immortal words of Hall and Oates.

A little story to prove to you that New York is, indeed, the biggest small town in America: Last night at Mary’s fondue party, which I am still recovering from by the way, I met a lovely girl who works in the Random House Children’s PR department. We got to chatting and it turns out that she really admires my editor. She said they sometimes get to request to work on certain books, and that they’re going to be presented the Spring 2010 lists pretty soon, so she’s going to ask to work on mine. Kind of fun, huh?

Okay, now I’m going to take advantage of the still-early hour and reward myself for all my hard work this weekend by watching Wanted and possibly The X-Files: I Want To Believe, which I bought today at Virgin. Extended cut, you guys! I wonder if the movie will make sense with more scenes in it, or if it’s just a lot of extra blood and gore. I’ll let you know!

I wonder if Ryan started the fire

So, for a while my revisions have been stressing me out. I don’t know why, it’s probably a combination of exhaustion and time crunch, but whatever the reason I could feel my mind resisting the work. This is not an unusual feeling for me, but usually I’m able to worm my way through it more easily than now.

I almost never work during the week because I have a day job and by the time I get home it’s almost eight and I just want to have dinner and relax. But this week was different. This week, I sat down every night and worked. I’ve been going through the marked up manuscript my editor gave me, making small changes and flagging bigger questions or things I’ll have to fix with more than a tap of the delete key. I’ve been dreading the turn of every page, which I know is melodramatic, but it’s true.

Finally, I decided I needed a change of scenery. Writing in my tiny room in my tiny dark apartment is fine, but revising in a cave is not good for my spirit, so I decided I needed space and sunlight. Lucky for me, there’s a branch of the New York Public Library about fifteen blocks away from my apartment, so this morning I jumped on the bus with my laptop and manuscript in tow and settled down at a table in the adult books section (I wanted to sit in the YA section, thinking for some reason it would be more inspirational, but there’s a big sign that says THESE TABLES ARE FOR TEENS ONLY which, do they police that? I didn’t want to risk it) and got to work.

2798968914_3144b124831Exhibit A: my wee bedroom.

At first, I felt as resistant as always, but after inching along all week I was finally close to the end of the MS and I slipped into a groove eventually. Then I reached the last leg, Part Four of AUT, which my editor had noted needed some reorganization. And for some reason, I suddenly felt very good. It was like all week I’d been climbing up a long staircase to the top of a water slide, and now I had finally sat down on my inner tube, gotten the signal from the lifeguard, pushed off and was now coasting to the bottom. Pardon the weird simile, that’s really how it felt!

And then–THEN. As if the world doesn’t want this book to ever get done, THE FIRE ALARM WENT OFF. Are you kidding me? Ugh. I had to quickly gather up my stuff and leave the library with everybody else. The thing that really bugs me is that I think some confused lady opened a fire door, which is a good thing because that means there wasn’t an actual fire, but also? READ THE DOOR, LADY.

Anyway, they weren’t letting anybody in there until the fire department showed up and checked out the place, so I knew it was fruitless to wait around forever when I lived a few blocks away. But, being me, I was like, “This is the perfect time to buy Wanted on DVD!” So that’s what I did. Because I love That James McAvoy and Wanted was an awesome movie. On the Venn diagram of movies both my brother and I would enjoy, I think Wanted is the only overlap. And the reason for that, of course, is my fake husband TJM. (Not to be confused with my fake boyfriend, RPattz. They know about each other, it’s fine.)

gearcrave-interview_james-mcavoy_wantedYeeeeeeeah, that’s right.

I also bought The Last Unicorn because it was on sale for $5 and it was one of my favorite movies as a kid.

Despite the disruption, during which I appear to have made lemonade out of lemons anyway, I’m still feeling pretty good about these revisions now. What seemed insurmountable a couple of days ago I’m now looking forward to tackling, which is excellent. This is turning out to be a great weekend all around. I spent last night with my closest NY friends because Katie, who moved to Chicago a few months ago, was back in town for  a visit. Tonight one of my other friends is having a fondue party, so we’re going to that, and then tomorrow is brunch at Essex House (I’d better make sure someone made reservations…) and then back to writing for me.

Okay, I must go now–Mary’s foolishly promised to let me DJ tonight, so I have to update the Party playlist on my iPod. Gotta remember to include all the newest Hanson tunes!*

*Just kidding.

My own personal brand of heroin…

I didn’t always love Twilight. Actually, the first time I read it I thought the plot was boring and saggy, the pace was off, Bella was annoying, and Edward was too smug to be a heartthrob. I returned it to the library and thought nothing of it again until I saw the first teaser trailer for the movie and then it hit me–Edward (portrayed excellently by Rob Pattinson) was a dish! I had to know more, and so I bought a copy of the book at Target and devoured it and its sequels in a matter of months (would’ve been shorter, since I was nothing less than obsessed, but I had to wait until this August for Breaking Dawn to come out).

Yes, the books have flaws, but I love them now the way you love your siblings–you fight and you disagree and after living in close quarters with them for eighteen or so years you can see every little annoying foible, but you love them so very much in spite of all these things, which makes it extra special when you get the opportunity to enjoy their company. Which is why I was so incredibly pumped, after reading Breaking Dawn, which as you know I just loved, to see the movie. Despite my young age I’m practically an old person, so I didn’t go see the movie at midnight on Friday like all the whippersnappers probably did, but I did see it on Friday night and I have some thoughtsicles, which I will now present in bullet points because my brain is fried from editing MB this weekend (still not done! Oh how I suffer…):

  • Casting: Superb in most cases. Rob Pattinson, who is my new fake boyfriend (not to be confused with my fake husband, That James McAvoy), was spot-on with his portrayal of Edward, and I think that comes from the fact that he threw the whole “Edward Cullen is the world’s perfect man” concept out the window and instead went deeper, dredging up Edward’s insecurities and fears and self-loathing, playing him as a guy who has been lonely for a century, thinks he’s soulless and doomed to the fiery pits of hell, and has literally no idea how to deal with the sort of human emotions that he’s been suppressing since he turned. Kristin Stewart was exactly how I imagined Bella, and although I could’ve done with a little less polysyllabic grunting in place of actual words, she was just as awkward and unsure and subtly bitchy as I imagined. The Cullens, too, were well cast, especially Emmett, who is perhaps my favorite Cullen after Edward (although I do love Alice, too, don’t get me wrong). I can’t wait till the Eclipse and Breaking Dawn movies, which are Cullen-eriffic, because they’re probably my favorite part of the series. You know what else I loved? Seeing Michael Welch in the role of Mike Newton! I love Michael Welch as Luke Girardi from Joan of Arcadia and was so so so happy to see that he’s still acting. You know what I didn’t love? Stephenie Meyer’s cameo. It pulled me RIGHT out of the story.
  • Plot: For the most part I think the film was adapted well. The nice thing about the Twilight books is that they’re so bloated that when you take out all the stuff that’s not really necessary, you’re left with a silver screen sized story (as opposed to the Harry Potter books, which if you try to pare them down you end up with a woefully anorexic adaptation like Goblet of Fire). I haven’t read Twilight in probably six months, so I wouldn’t really notice if the story was missing anything specific, but I thought all the important stuff was in there. I think that Bella’s voice over was unnecessary, though, and at times made little sense. My cousin Emma mentioned that they left out one of her favorite lines, when Edward says, “If I could dream I would dream of you,” to Bella, and I agree, that’s a great line and they should’ve left it in. But otherwise I was pretty impressed with the way everything moved, I thought the pace was pretty spot on, and while the scene-to-scene transitions could’ve been better, I considered this aspect well done.
  • Scenes: LOVED the baseball scene, I always imagined it would be awesome to see all these super humans playing the great American past time. I thought the meadow scene was perfectly serviceable, because Edward’s sparkly skin was done probably as best it could’ve been given the fact that it’s one thing to read about and another thing entirely to SEE on SCREEN. I liked that they made the sparkles look the way it looks when the sun is shining down on snow. That was clever. Also, the movie reminded me that probably the scariest scene in all four of the books, including Bella’s demon birthing scene in Breaking Dawn, is the scene when Bella is surrounded by all those drunk guys in Port Angeles. Because that could ACTUALLY HAPPEN, and it does happen, and it’s one of my worst fears about living in New York, or any city really. Too bad not all of us have a bad ass mind reading Edward Cullen to frighten off would-be attackers. Also, that kiss scene was hot. Looking forward to more of that in the future!
  • Soundtrack: Honestly, I was underwhelmed. The only song I even noticed enough to look it up later was “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse, which I downloaded on iTunes and am now listening to on repeat every second of the day. I listened to the clips of Rob Pattinson’s music and while it’s awesomely garbled and weird and I would like to own both songs, I’m pretty sure they weren’t actually in the film? Maybe one of them was, but I don’t remember it.

Overall, I loved the movie. I can’t wait to see it again (I will probably see it one or two more times in the theater, let’s be honest) and buy it on DVD when it comes out. And I don’t know if you know this, but they’re now officially making New Moon into a movie, so even though I’m not very excited to see only a tiny bit of Edward and way more of Jacob Black than I could ever want, the farther they get in filming the series the closer we get to watching the awesome sexy chaos of Breaking Dawn on the big screen, so I’m all for it!

All right, back to work.